By Bob Humphrey
Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., is singular in terms of the effort and emphasis they place on wearing proper safety equipment while riding. That includes helmet, eye protection, gloves and boots and long-sleeved shirt and full-length pants. All except for the helmet are also a wise choice when you step off your ATV and hit the woods for a hunt.
Gloves protect your hands from brush and other objects while riding. They also keep your hands warm in cooler temperatures and provide for a better grip. All of the above are true for hunting as well. If you’re crashing through brush on an upland bird hunt, they’ll protect your hands from thorns and other abrasions. Sitting bare-handed for hours on a cold deer stand your fingers could get numb, then fail you when you need them most. And whether hunting upland birds, deer or waterfowl, gloves will give you a safer, more secure grip on your gun.
You’d be hard pressed to think of a form of hunting where boots of above ankle height are not the best option. They provide protection from the elements, support in rough terrain and warmth.
One exception might be an early-season dove hunt, where you’re stationed comfortably along the edge of a field in mild to hot temperatures. However, low-cut light shoes increase your exposure to things like ticks, chiggers and poisonous snakes. Better to stick to the high boots.
Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are advisable for many of the aforementioned reasons. They’ll protect you from brush and thorns, biting insects and exposure to the elements, including too much sun. If it’s hot, wear lighter, moisture-wicking fabric, but cover your arms and legs.
Last but most certainly not least is eye protection. While riding, glasses or goggles will protect your eyes from branches or flying objects. But once you step off, you still need to protect your eyes. Switch from goggles to safety glasses if need be. But keep your eyes protected. Crashing through brush on an upland bird hunt could result in a stick in the eye. Shooting into a strong wind could result in ejected shells or powder residue blowing back in your face. Even a random gust could blow dirt or other objects into your eye.